Summer is around the corner, and so are the school holidays!
If you are wondering what to do with your children, and would prefer to try something different, how about giving camping a go! It can truly be a fantastic way to introduce children to the beauty that is South Africa, our national parks and nature reserves definately need to be explored and with some good planning this can be a fabulous holiday.
Do you wonder if your kids are missing out on nature? That technology has consumed their everyday lives and as much as you want them to run around exploring the outdoors, that most of the time this is not an option out of worry for their safety. Perhaps the thought of being in the bush makes you nervous (it makes me nervous!) but there are ways to over come this and make this a truly memorable holiday.
Your idea of camping may be to pitch a tent in the back garden, and this is always suggested before you hit the road, but why not try make it more fun and introduce them, and yourself, to the wonders of nature.
One of the biggest factors to take into account is of course, the age of your children. Perhaps if they are young consider staying in a resort near civilization rather than going straight into bundu bashing. Young kids can get bored quickly and the excitement will wear off and you may be stuck with an unhappy toddler, not your idea of a memorable experience!
Plan accordingly. Decide what area you would like to go to and consider all the factors such as wild animals and Malaria. No one wants any unexpected visitors paying a visit in the middle of the night. There are plenty of Malaria free national parks in South Africa, and the Kruger provides many fenced campsites that are perfect for a camping holiday.
Once you have decided where to go, plan for the unexpected. You are away from everyday amenities and children will be very vocal when they become unhappy with something.
- Pack something that reminds them of home, a pillow, teddy, blanket etc.
- Always check the weather and pack for both! This is something that can change so quickly.
- Make sure you have loads of snacks, all the fresh air will give your kids a good appetite.
- Hats, sunscreen, insect repellant and water bottles are of utmost importance. But MOST importantly is – don’t forget the toilet paper!!!!
- Have a basic first aid kit on stand by
Once you have arrived, and the excitement has reached fever pitch, be sure to make some rules!
- Point out a boundry line that the kids cannot pass, when they are caught up on following a trail of ants then they could wander off, make sure they know how important it is to stay nearby.
- A great idea would be to give your children a whistle, that should they lose their bearings they can communicate with you if they need to be searched for
- Give your kids a flashlight, not only will this enhance the camping experience, it will also eliminate any chance of fires. Remember to make shadow puppets!!!!
Entertainment while you are there is endless, encourage fetching twigs and sticks to get the fire started, go on short nature walks and show them different shaped leaves and plants. Stop and follow bugs and insect trails, older kids are interested in this kind of thing. Don’t encourage them to pick anything up as you don’t know what could bite or sting!!
And last but not least, your kids WILL get dirty! Encourage this and let them explore and get their hands messy.